State of Oregon first to adopt national certification for medical interpreters

The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters announced today that the State of Oregon has become the first state in the nation to officially adopt and endorse the Certification for Medical Interpreters (CMI) through the National Board.

Patients in the United States with limited English proficiency (LEP) continue to face language barriers that threaten their health and undermine their well-being. This first of its kind national interpreting standard provides professional interpreters working in the medical field with the opportunity to be tested and credentialed as certified interpreters.

The Oregon Office of Multicultural Health & Services also has awarded a grant to the National Board for the development of oral certification exams in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese and Russian. CMI launched the first national certification exam for Spanish in October 2009. Read More...


Iranian translator to bring Korean works to world

The Iranian translator Farideh Mahdavi-Damghani visited Korea for the first time this month to pursue introducing more Korean works to her native Iran.
Although not yet well known in Korea, Mahdavi-Damghani is a noted translator in both her home country and also in Europe. Having won numerous awards such as the Florence Literary Prize in 2004, one of the most prestigious literary awards after the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, she is also the first non-Italian to win an award from the President of Italy for her noteworthy translations.
Mahdavi-Damghani has traveled around the world in search if interesting projects and collaborations, and though other Asian countries have caught her eye, she explained that Korea was her favorite.
Given her profession, reading may come as an easy way for Mahdavi-Damghani to learn more about another country, but unfortunately, she was not able to find many Korean books translated into Persian, let alone English, French or Italian, all the languages which she speaks and writes fluently. This was exactly why she decided to introduce more Korean works to overseas readers, particularly in other Asian regions. Read More...


The second annual Jelly Donut Awards recap the top 5 translation errors of 2010

Translation has gotten plenty of media attention in 2010, but sometimes for the wrong reasons. That’s why a US-based translation company has created the Jelly Donut Awards, which recap the top 5 real translation, interpreting and localization errors of the year.
As was explained in last year’s announcement, the Jelly Donut Awards are named in honor of one of the most enduring stories of international mistranslation. Though it has since been established that John F. Kennedy’s claim of “Ich bin ein Berliner” — “I am a jelly donut,” as the story goes — isn’t actually incorrect, the anecdote is too widespread (and too charming!) to ignore.
#5 – Rihanna’s Rhododendron Rebellion
When you’re getting ink permanently displayed on your skin, one would think you’d be extra careful to make sure everything was just right before the tattoo gets applied.
Pop star Rihanna decided to forgo due diligence earlier this year and got a tattoo on her neck that reads “rebelle fleur” — literally, “rebel flower” in French. Sort of. The problem is that French, like many other Romance languages, is usually written with the noun preceding any adjectives that modify it. So while “rebelle fleur” may technically get her meaning across, it isn’t proper French — she really should have gone with “fleur rebelle.”
#4 – German Tram Firm Gets Derailed
A German transportation firm contracted to build a tram in Edinburgh, Scotland, had to hit the emergency brakes after a mistranslation resulted in a defamation lawsuit. In discussing the financial status of the project, one of the project heads declared the firm, TIE, to be delinquent.
When the story was translated into German, however, “delinquent” was translated as “Verbrecher,” which can mean “criminal.” Outraged at the accusation, TIE filed a lawsuit, and business relations ground to a halt. The argument probably could have been avoided entirely by more diligent proofreading, but that train has already left the station.
#3 – This One Goes to 11
In New York City, medicine labels are required to be translated if the patient speaks one of the city’s seven most-spoken languages. In many cases this service was being performed by automated translation programs, and unfortunately, the software wasn’t equal to the task.
Some of the instructions were simply bizarre (“Apply to affected area twice to the indicated day like”), but others were actively dangerous. One patient was mistakenly instructed to take his medicine eleven times a day, but the actual recommended dosage was once a day. As any first-year Spanish student knows, “once” is Spanish for “eleven,” but the translation program didn’t catch the distinction.
#2 – Snow White and … You Probably Don’t Want to Know
In a classic example of “Know your source before you publish a translation,” a Chinese publisher released what they thought was a children’s book: the timeless story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
That would be fine, except they couldn’t find a copy of the story in the original German, so they substituted a Japanese version instead. Still sounds fine, right? As it turns out, the Japanese version they procured wasn’t a traditional fairy tale — it was an erotic adaptation of the story.
The publisher only found this out after it hit shelves, and several parents complained that the adult content of the story was wholly inappropriate for the children it was being marketed to. In response, the publisher issued a recall and an apology.
#1 – Translation Doesn’t Work Out for Russian Prisoners
As if a prison sentence wasn’t bad enough, Russian-speaking inmates at Lincoln Prison in England were given some seriously scary information upon arrival. A handbook distributed to new inmates detailed the layout of the prison, but in the Russian translation, the exercise yard was mislabeled — it read “Execution Yard.” Read More...


Chinese language to take over Internet

Although the web was founded using English, the swelling adoption of the world wide wibble is changing the web so much that the dominant language of the Internet is about to become Chinese, a report by Nextweb has suggested.
Currently the online population is about 1,966,514,816 people and of them 42 percent speak English. Another 32.6 per cent speak Chinese. Nextweb thinks that the extent that the Chinese market is growing means that the number of Chinese users will overtake English speakers.
It seems that the Chinese are trying to capitalise on this. Recently Chinese mandarins issued a decree requiring Chinese translations for all English words and phrases in newspapers, magazines and web sites.
The General Administration of Press and Publication website announced last week that the mixing of foreign words in Chinese language publications without an accompanying Chinese language translation has been banned.
The ban is all encompassing and includes the names of people and places, acronyms, abbreviations and common phrases, all of which have become increasingly common over recent years. Read More...


Proposed budget cut could eliminate interpreters for thousands in Washington

About 70,000 Washington residents who have limited English may lose access to interpreters during medical visits under a proposed budget cut.
The spending cut proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire would eliminate a state-financed program that subsidizes interpreter services to medical clinics and hospitals who serve Medicaid patients.
At about $2 million, the proposed cut is a moderate one out of the governor’s emergency budget reductions, but one of the dozens needed as Gregoire and legislators grapple with a state budget that keeps falling in deeper deficits. Lawmakers met in a special session Saturday to approve steps for trimming a $1.1 billion budget deficit through June. Another, larger deficit in the next two-year budget also awaits when lawmakers return for regular meetings in January.
The interpreter program is conducted by the Department of Social and Health Services, which had been ordered to cut $113 million from its spending, spokesman Jim Stevenson said.
The cut was originally set to be implemented next month, but after heavy lobbying, that date has been pushed back to March, giving lawmakers time to reconsider. Read More...